Irv Lee (Irvin Lee) Mentoring the UK Private Pilot and South African PPL

Irv Lee - Higherplane Aviation Training ltd

Mentoring the Private Pilot flying in the UK, EASA/NPPL Testing, Renewals & Validations, PPL Masterclasses, Radio Training & Testing, South African Vacation & Licensing advice, Consultancy and much more besides . . . . .

this page is undergoing constant and progressive update from Dec 31st for a few days, massive text changes to cater for leaving EASA.
In the meantime, you may find what you need to know about post-EASA regulations in the "one-sheet catch up" pdf in the tabs on the left.
Pre Preflight Checklist:
EASA licence or not, the pre flying tips are the same, and lots of EASA/National confusions are sorted out with this personal checklist, the ideal safety addition to your flight bag. It also solves a big problem for friends/relatives who never know what to get you as a present. Get them to click on the link for details and ordering. Orders usually delivered in under 2 working days, often next day.
PPL Masterclasses:
We managed to hold three PPL Masterclasses in 2020 (2 at Compton Abbas, 1 at Sherburn) before the Covid19 virus stopped meetings. Supplement your post-virus flying when the time comes with an enjoyable day of deconfusion and clarity. Masterclasses follow demand, so the more pilots ask for one in their area, the quicker one will be held there when meeting restrictions cease. Click on the PPL Masterclass tab to see content, attendee feedback, and register interest.

Warning Update in Progress.

Welcome to Irv Lee's Frequently Asked (EASA) Questions

All answers, unless detailed otherwise in the answer (Q&A assume the pilot posing the question:
  • is a General Aviation ('GA') pilot, licence issued by the UK CAA.
  • flies "S.E.P" (Land based) aircraft (the replacement / successor to the old 'Group A').
  • has a UK issued PPL with SEP(land) rating, with no extra ratings or privileges, unless indicated otherwise.
  • flies 'EASA' aircraft (that is, aircraft with an EASA ARC (these include all the normal rental aircraft), or an EASA Permit (not all that common).
NB: With the UK leaving EASA, G-reg 'EASA' aircraft (eg pa28, c172, etc) are called PART 21 Aircraft now. UK-issued EASA licences are called 'FCL licences' now. So what was up to the end of 2020 a UK EASA PPL flying an EASA G-reg PA28 is now a UK FCL PPL flying a UK Part 21 aircraft
Disclaimer: These answers have no legal authority and could be superceded or become wrong or redundant at any time. Use these answers only as a base starting point for checking with the relevant authorities. Note that with the many changes brought in by the new 2016 ANO, EASA NCO in August 2016, and changes to FCL in November 2019, small aviation amendments made by the UK in 2021, and Covid19 exemptions, these answers are currently being checked for detailed accuracy. Also, changes are hitting UK GA so fast and frequently that this free site can easily be slightly behind the change curve with one or two rules. My 'one sheet catch up' (see side tabs) is normally quickly brought up to date and should be used for info on Covid 19 exemptions.

For much more detailed information on the combinations of licences/ratings/medicals see the item on the menu on the left for these combinations.
The EASA Qs and the EASA

  1. What can I do in Part 21 (what were EASA) aircraft with my current licence and medical?
    Well, it depends what you have now, and there are so many combinations that there is a separate page for these, see 'Licence Medical Combos' on the left. HOWEVER, from June 2021, you can fly G-reg Part 21 aircraft in UK airspace with either a suitable UK FCL licence or a suitable UK non FCL licence (eg NPPL). Except with permission of the foreign authority a UK issued LAPL(A) is confined to UK airspace. The 'combos' page explains much more.
    Sidelines: I would expect the Channel Islands to declare a UK LAPL(A) is acceptable soon, and there are French laws recently passed about flying historic and older design permit G reg aircraft in France for short periods on the same licences as used in the UK, but refer to your organisation (LAA or BMAA) for latest on that.

  2. As a private pilot with a national (non-FCL) licence, should I apply for a UK LAPL (Light Aircraft Pilot Licence) or a UK FCL PPL?
    You have to be careful at the moment due to 2021 being a year when the CAA are contemplating changes, so what seems right now might change within months! Suppose you have an SSEA rating issued prior to April 8th 2018 (the CAA won't convert an SSEA rating issued from that date) or a UK non-fcl PPL with SEP. The CAA now allows these to fly Part 21 aircraft in the UK. So why convert? Well, there is no current path from NPPL-SSEA to full ICAO PPL except through a UK LAPL(A) and then some extra training. There might be a direct path sometime, but it's up in the air. If you have a UK non FCL PPL, the allowance to fly Part 21 aircraft on a non FCL UK PPL is confined to aircraft that a LAPL(A) could fly (eg: single engine, up to 2000kg), so you might see the point in converting now to an FCL licence, but most hobby pilots will not.

  3. I need to fly a non-G-reg aircraft but only have UK issued PPL. How do I do this legally, even in the UK?
    You cannot do this, even in the UK, unless the registration authority gives you permission, normally called a 'validation' and they can set any sort of rule they want to do this, and time limits on the validation. The most liberal at first glance is the USA, who say that, in the airspace of the country that issued your local licence, you can fly N reg on that licence in the airspace IF that country does not ban it. However, if you are hoping to fly an F or D-reg anywhere including the UK, you cannot do this with a UK licence without a validation (or some sort of permission) from the state of registration.

  4. Can I get a LAPL medical and use it with an NPPL or full UK PPL (fcl or not)?
    Here is a table explaining validity of different licences, ratings and medicals: Paperwork Combinations

  5. How do I get an English Language assessment so that I can renew my 10 year expiring radio licence?
    There have been pilots I know who have already got an English Language assessment at the permanent level (6) without knowing it, so maybe contacting the CAA with your CAA reference number and asking what your level is would save some time and effort. Otherwise, you can get a language assessment from a radio test, a flight test, or a ground assessment with Flight Examiner if you are 'English Native'. Note, despite the horrendous form layout for radio licence renewals, if you have a current English proficiency level, there are NO radio tests or exams needed to renew a ten-year expiring radio licence, you just 'apply' ignoring any mention of testing or exams. (If you change your address, the new licence will come back with a permanent radio licence.)

  6. How do I find the EASA documents which make the rules for private flying?
    It's incredibly confusing. clearly this table below is no longer valid
    Here's a table with my description of the sort of information you get in each. It is important to read the last one (CAA interpretation of the rules) even if you have read the black and white 'EASA FCL' as this is subject to the influence of 'Accetable Means of Compliance' and 'Bridging Agreements'. Just for example, to illustrate how confusing things can get, you will find it quite clearly stated in EASA FCL that the holder of a LAPL cannot take passengers after licence issue until 10 hours solo Pilot in Command time has been completed post LAPL issue. Quite clear? No! If you have a LAPL issued as a conversion from another licence, the UK conversion document (accepted by EASA and therefore legal) say these 10 hours before taking passengers post LAPL issue can be credited from previous flying on the previous licence. Anyway, with that idea in mind, here are the documents:
    Link Title Summary
    EASA FCL "EASA FCL" This is the core of the rules regulating all EASA licences and ratings. For example, you could read up on the privileges of (different sorts of) the LAPL, or LAPL validity rules, revalidation rules for SEP ratings, or definitions of terms, just for example, what 'aerobatic flight' means. It is not the whole story though. Separate documents such as 'Conversion Reports' would tell you how to get a specific licence from an old licence, AMC documents would perhaps give a list of what actual features on an aircraft require differences training. training
    FCL Guidance "EASA FCL Acceptable Means of Compliance and Guidance" This is where much more of the detail lies. It usually cross references to EASA FCL above. SO, for example, FCL above talks about needing differences training for complexities. It doesn't name the complexities. This document does. I assume this is so they can change this document if we got a new 'complexity' without having to put FCL through the whole law making process for one change.
    Easy Access "EASA FCL Easy Access Rules" Supposedly easy read for flight crew licensing - warning, over 1300 pages.....
    UK CAA Interpretation of Rules "CAP 804" - the replacement for LASORS Remember LASORS?? (all the licensing questions answered IF you knew what the question was!) CAP804 is the CAA's view of the rules, for national licences and rules and EASA licences and rules.

  7. Can I fly UK microlights on a PPL-SEP, fcl or non fcl?
    Yes, our Air Navigation Order is the place that allows non-EASA aircraft to be flown by UK licensed pilots with 'SEP' privileges providing the pilot has undergone microlight differences training once, and had it signed off in the log book by an instructor who is valid on microlights. If you have an NPPL-SSEA, you actually need to have a microlight rating issued into the NPPL after a microlight test, there is no 'differences training' sign off to do it. Note the hours in 3-axis microlights can count towards SEP revalidation in Non-FCL UK PPLs, BUT if you have SEP in a UK FCL PPL, or a UK LAPL(A), you can include 3 axis microlight Pilot in Command hours in the requirements, BUT not any training flights in microlights.

  8. For a revalidation by experience (for SEP(land) and/or TMG ratings) has anything changed recently?
    It depends how far you go back. The signature extending your expiry date by two years can be done ANYTIME you meet the final year requirements, and you do not lose your 'end of month', the current one goes forward two years when you revalidate. No requirement mentioning anything to do with 'the final three months' for revalidation by experience. However, if you revalidate by proficiency check with an examiner (a flight test) instead of the 'by experience' route, if passed in the final 3 months, your new expiry date is 2 years after the current one. If you revalidate early by proficiency check (a test with an examiner), early being more than 3 months before expiry, your new date is end of month, 2 years after the test.
    For SEP, the main revalidation flying requirements (12 hours, etc) have only changed in one respect. If your SEP rating is in a UK non-FCL PPL and you have microlight differences training, you can count all or any '3-axis' microlight hours for revalidation by experience. So your total claim for 12 hours towards SEP revalidation in an Non-FCL UK PPL could be in microlights, indeed, even revalidation by proficiency check of such an SEP rating could be in a 3 axis microlight. HOWEVER, for SEP in UK FCL PPLs, or indeed, for SEP privileges in UK FCL LAPL(A) validity scheme, any 3-axis microlight hours count IF they are P1, but do not if they are PU/T. So for FCL licences, a pilot only flying ONLY microlights would have to have a training hour in a 'real' SEP to get to the 12 hours required, or indeed, replace the training hour with some other test in some other class or type.
    Ratings need to be revalidated before expiry. Remember your 'usual' signatory might have moved licene to an EASA state, and can no longer sign your revalidation by experience. It can be done by the instructor (with FCL.945 mentioned in his licence) who completed the training hour, or a UK flight examiner, but must be done before expiry.
  9. I live in the UK and operate an 'N' reg aircraft based here, with an FAA licence. Does FCLA licensing affect me?
    Amazingly, yes. If your N-reg aircraft would be classified as an FCL aircraft if you registered it under the G registration, AND it is based in or operated from the UK, you do need either a UK FCL licence to fly it or a UK declaration (a simpler form of validation). If you wanted to fly it outside the UK, you would need your FAA licence current too.
  10. What is happening about the UK IMC Rating?
    You can now only use an IMC rating in non-FCL aircraft to the limit that the aircraft certification allows. Whilst in EASA, the UK invented an I/R(R) (instrument rating restricted) for UK FCL licences, and this is exactly the same as an IMC rating, except it is allowed to be placed in a UK FCL licence and used in G-reg Part 21 aircraft in the UK.
  11. How do I keep my LAPL(A) valid?
    There's HUGE confusion about LAPLs by pilots who have them! I have even had 4 pilots on the same day approach me for LAPL rating revalidation signatures or concerned they didn't have a 'rating expiry date', which demonstrates they really don't understand what they have 'bought'. Unless you have some extra ratings, like Night, Aeros, etc, you will have quite a few blank pages where ratings and expiry dates would be expected. The LAPL does not work with aircraft ratings in the normal sense. If you look under privileges on page 4 of your licence, you will probably see SEP(land) listed, or maybe TMG, which shows you what sort of aircraft you can fly. However, SEP or TMG will NOT appear with an expiry date anywhere as a rating. There is no specific rating expiry date to work towards, instead YOU are responsible for sorting out your own validity before EVERY flight. Before a flight, you must convince YOURSELF that you have logged the 2 yearly requirements in the 24 months before each flight, on aircraft you are entitled to fly. The NEW requirements from 11/11/2019 are:
    • A LAPL proficiency check with a flight examiner (same content as the initial LAPL skills test) in the 24 months before any flight
    • 12 hours in the 24 months before any flight including at least 12 take offs and 12 landings. These hours (and landings) can be P1 or Pu/t, but one hour at least must be Pu/t (but all of them could be). Note that, )assuming the pilots is legal in microlights), P1 hours in 3 axis microlights can count to any p1 totals required, BUT Pu/t in microlights does NOT count.
    Note 90 day rules still apply for taking passengers.
    So what happens if you find you do not have the 12 hours or perhaps the 12 take offs and landings before your intended p1 flight? If you haven't got this, do NOT go flying as p1. You can make up the hours or take offs and landings with an instructor, or if that would be expensive due to the hours needed, simply have a LAPL Proficiency Check with a flight examiner, and then you do not need to worry about LAPL validity for the next 2 years.
  12. I have a foreign (non EU, not EASA state) PPL and wish to convert to a UK FCL PPL. Can I do it?
    It is possible to get a one year 'validation' without converting immediately if your licence is otherwise fully valid for flying the UK Part 21 aircraft you wish to fly. Foreign (non-EASA ICAO PPLs e.g. FAA, SA, etc) are not valid in 'G' registered FCL aircraft until the following process has been completed:
    FAA PPLs: use the process outlined in CAA form SRG2140.
    Other foreign non-EASA PPLs flying fewer than 28 days per year, their process is in CAA form SRG2141, or form CAA SRG2139 if flying 28 days or more each year. Then you have until Dec 21st 2021 to convert to a UK FCL licence but can fly in the meantime within the privileges of your home licence.
    All should apply for licence verification via form SRG2142.
    Conversion: If the foreign (non EASA) licence is not fully valid, you could well have major problems if you want a UK FCL PPL. Our UK CAA say that they will convert a foreign PPL at all unless the pilot has 100 hours total flight time and the licence is fully valid for flight in the 'home' country. So if you have an SA, or Oz, or FAA PPL, everything in it needs to be valid before the CAA will convert it - your foreign SEP rating or privileges must be valid, and you must have the foreign medical current too, which is ridiculous considering you will have just obtained an UK medical to convert and perhaps never use the foreign licence again.

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